LPG regulation

Dhaka,  Monday,   2016-09-22
Published : 22 Sep 2016, 22:47:52

LPG regulation

Against the backdrop of a number of recent accidents involving liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders, regulation on use of the fuel proved most pressing. Also, the government's express intent to popularise LPG replacing the piped gas makes it incumbent on the ministry concerned to come up with clearly chalked-out rules and regulations. The country's energy regulator has already drafted one such charter for safe use of the liquefied fuel. Codified as the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) LPG Storage, Bottling, Transportation and Dispensing Codes and Standards, 2016, the document seeks not only to do away with unauthorised bottling and distribution of LPG but also introduce standard practice in manufacture of containers and their handling and transportation. Some mandatory rules have to be followed in order to avoid laxity at any stage of the process starting from storage to installation at user level.

Sure enough, there was need for strict regulation in LPG business because of the substance's incendiary nature. The experience in the use of gas cylinders in vehicles without such regulations may have some influences on the move too. Low quality gas cylinders were responsible for a few accidents at the time of refuelling and at least in one case, even when a vehicle was parked. Mercifully, such mishaps are no longer reported. But with the possibility of market expansion for cooking LPG cylinders, there is every chance of arrival of manufacturers with no genuine credentials on the scene, which may overlook the safety standard in the interest of greater profit margin. Maybe, some manufacturers with such questionable credentials are already there. Or, else, how can the recent accidents involving the LPG containers be explained?

The fact is that LPG cylinders used for kitchen are mostly a women's affair. Apart from those in standard restaurants and hotels, kitchens of most of the households are managed by women, some of whom are not even literate enough. It is because of this, the system of LPG contraption should be foolproof. Even in rough use, the system should have automatic back-up arrangements against accidents. Better industrial performance at the level of storage and refuelling is important but at the level of end users too, the safety measures should be as sound as it is humanly possible.

As for the accountability of the entities involved with LPG business, the provision of insurance will go a long way. Liability to be borne by businesses for accidents due to negligence or non-compliance of guidelines is expected to deter seasonal or fake companies from undertaking the venture. Now the more challenging task would be to implement the regulations without leniency. It is such a business proposition where the slightest oversight can cause colossal loss of lives and damage to property. There is no scope for irregularities, deliberate in nature to be precise. So the structure of the business, especially in the private sector, demands that the best in the business are given licences for the purpose. Even then regular monitoring and supervision will be necessary with the expansion of business of this useful fuel.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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